Two committed foodies and entrepreneurs, Hariclia Makoulis and George Marinos, have created the amazing new Ambrosial, granolas with a difference. For starters, these are the first sweet and savory granola clusters powered with chick peas and lentils. Super-food ingredients like quinoa encourage guilt-free consumption. And they are utterly delicious, truly the “food of the gods.” Dip your hands into the bags designed to keep them fresh and you will not want to stop snacking. Consider Basil Honey Almond, Rosemary Pecan, organic Apple Walnut or the new organic muesli, Gogi Berry Pumpkin. Ambrosial lives up to its billing as “food for life, nutrition-dense, antioxidants, heart health, digestive health.”
Haraclia and George each bring special talents to the creation of Ambrosial. Hariclia, a sociologist, has been involved in nutrition and cooking since growing up in Naoussa-Imathea, Macedonia. “It’s famous for its peaches,” she points out. “We have very fertile land and it’s really like a paradise, particularly if you go in summer when there are such wonderful fruits and vegetables. Both my husband and I went to college in Greece, and then came to the United States for graduate degrees. After we started a family, I stayed home. I began experimenting in my own kitchen. Clean, nutritious food was on my agenda.” The Brooklyn resident had created the beginnings of Ambrosial when she met George at a trade show. “We were actually spying on each other,” George says with a smile. A graduate of the University of Athens with a Masters Degree in food technology from the University of Georgia, and an MBA in marketing management from Baruch College, he has worked for major food companies for more than 30 years, and is a food designer for Kraft Foods “My job is to dream up new foods and figure out what might go with what.” Passionate about healthy eating and an avid urban gardener, he grows herbs and flowers year-round in the Manhattan apartment where he lives with his wife, Josephine and three children.
“It’s a great partnership,” says Hariclia. “George is really a wonderful person to work with, for his execution and his energy. I’m so happy we met. After we partnered together, we worked to organize and bring Ambrosial up to date. We were inspired by the Mediterranean diet, and spent a year and a half figuring out how to bring that essence to the granola.”
Says George: “We decided that we had to use some Mediterranean ingredients including traditional grains. We also wanted to incorporate legumes, really one of the best foods we have. Lentils and chickpeas would be tasty and super nutritious. We did a lot of trials. Let’s do this. Let’s do that. More of this. Too much! We tried them out with our friends and colleagues. And then we had to get the texture just right. The flavors– basil, rosemary– are very Mediterranean. We added grains like millet and quinoa, the ancient grains and seeds. That created a very dense and real food experience, nutritious, with a good taste and texture.
“And low sugar,” Hariclia adds. “At the very beginning, I was in the kitchen. Today all of the Ambrosial products are handcrafted, baked in the oven and then put in the bag in a small, family-owned facility. But it’s one thing to be able to manufacture the product. It’s another to focus on the market. We redesigned the brand, and the logo.”
George says: “Ambrosial is new and innovative. It has a new look, a new feel, new flavors, and we’re working to show that on the social media, Instagram and Facebook. It’s part of a lifestyle, to help you feel good, not just a food, but a connection. We’re trying to do a lot of things to get the word out. We’ve done demos in different stores, in Titan and Whole Foods. We provide a lot of ideas and recipes on the web site.” He points out that the granolas can be used with yogurt, in cereals, in salads, as a snack, and, for instance, as an excellent take-along on a hiking trip or picnic.
Looking ahead, Hariclia and George are thinking of branching out with other new Ambrosial products. “Perhaps a chickpea snack, with olive oil, salt and savory flavors. The Greek answer to popcorn,” says George. With Ambrosial granolas a testament to their talents, we can’t wait. The excellence of their quality is manifested by the markets that carry them. Ambrosial is currently available in Whole Foods, Fairway and Titan.